I’ve lost the thread!

“Losing the thread” or “losing the train of thought” both mean similar things. They refer to when someone is talking (generally telling a story or anecdote) but they then either forget the point of what they were saying, or get distracted somehow and forget what they were talking about.

In Italian, the saying is:

Perdere il filo del discorso


Ho perso il filo del discorso! Che cosa stavo dicendo?!? (I lost the thread! What was I saying?!?)


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Italki.com is a website that helps language learners connect with students and teachers from all over the world.

As a learner, you can choose to:

  • Have a language partner (where you help each other learn your own language, pretty much like a language exchange programme). This is free;
  • Connect with a teacher and be taught the language of your choice in a structured way, similar to a classroom setting;
  • Connect with a community tutor. A tutor will help with conversation skills, but won’t have a pre-structured lesson plan.

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Students and teachers

If you’re a primary school teacher, you are a maestro or maestra, and students will call you maestra (first name), e.g. maestra Stephanie.

If you’re a middle school or secondary school teacher, you’re a professore or professoressa, and students will call you professor (Surname) or professoressa (Surname).

Students, never to work harder than necessary, will often shorten this by simply saying prof (Surname).

NOTE: A university teacher will also be called a professore.

There are several words for student but the following two are the most used. You can call a student:

L’alunno / l’alunna (plu. gli alunni / le alunne) –> More commonly used when speaking about primary school students.

Lo studente / la studentessa (plu. gli studenti / le studentesse) 

You can also call a teacher:

L’insegnante / la insegnante (plu. Gli insegnanti / le insegnanti) –> generic term for teacher, more commonly used when referring to a primary, middle, or secondary school teacher

Il docente / la docente (plu. i docenti / le docenti) –> secondary school or univerisity level.

Do you know any other words for teacher or student? Share them in the comments and we can talk about them more!


“A feather in your cap” in Italian

The English phrase “a feather in your cap” (referring to something that would add value, importance or prestige to someone’s reputation or skill set) doesn’t directly translate into Italian.

If you said to an Italian “Questa promozione sara` una penna nel tuo cappello”, they might politely ask what illegal substances you have recently taken!

Rather, you should say Questa promozione sara` un fiore all’occhiello.

Translated directly, it turns into a nonsensical “This promotion will be a flower in your buttonhole”. The sentence probably does transcribe the  positive message that’s behind it, although of course is nonsense put in such a way.

So remember!

“A feather in your cap” is translated as Un fiore nel tuo occhiello.